USA ties Portugal – Contemplating Scenarios to Advance

team-usa-group-of-deathWe and countless other news outlets had discussed last night’s big match between USA and Portugal from many different angles. On one side, you had the young, but scrappy Americans who were coming off a big 2-1 victory against their rivals, Ghana. Then there was Portugal, a normally powerful team with the world’s best player, Cristiano Ronaldo. Unfortunately, Ronaldo was banged up and three important Portuguese players missed the game with injuries/red cards. So who won this much-discussed match?

Well, it’s very possible that you’ve seen that it ended in a 2-2 tie. There was nothing anti-climatic about this tie, though, as Ronaldo floated a beautiful pass to Silvestre Varelain, who headed the ball in with less than a minute of stoppage time remaining. Despite Ronaldo’s excellent pass to give Portugal a glimmer of hope of reaching the knockout round, it wasn’t his best effort.

He missed several good opportunities to score a goal, including one where he got ahead on the right side of the flank, only to cut himself off from a better shot and miss wide right. There were several other chances where he just couldn’t put the ball in the net. To anybody who was watching the game, it was clear that the Real Madrid’s knee problem limited his impact.

If you want to talk about missed opportunities, though, USA missed big time in not winning this match. Nani pushed a shot past a falling Tim Howard to put Portugal up early in the match The score would remain 1-0 until Jermaine Jones nailed a beautiful hooking shot from outside of the box. With less than 10 minutes left in regulation, Clint Dempsey used his midsection to score what had the feel of a match winner.

ronaldo-usaAfter several squandered opportunities by Portugal, it looked as if the Red, White and Blue would win their second match in a row and automatically advance to the knockout round. However, that’s when Ronaldo found Varelain for a last-second goal.

It was a hot, humid game that was filled with mistakes on both sides. Of course, one might give these teams a pass considering that Manaus, which is located in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, reached 84 degrees with 70% humidity. The heat was so bad that officials called for a water break before halftime, the first time that this has happened in the history of the World Cup.

That said, USA could have a tougher time recovering for when they face Germany on Thursday, June 26th. So you might want to take this factor into account for USA vs Germany betting. Now, let’s take a look at some scenarios that American fans should be hoping for if their team is to advance to the knockout round.

Current Group G Standings

Germany: 1 W, 1 D, 0 L; 4 Points, +4 Goal Differential
USA: 1 W, 1 D, 0 L, 4 Points, +1 Goal Differential
Ghana 0 W, 1 D, 0 L, 1 Point, -1 Goal Differential
Portugal 0 W, 1 D, 0 L, 1 Point, -4 Goal Differential

USA can advance with a Win or Tie against Germany

For the US, it’s simple: win or tie and you’re in. Of course, it won’t be so simple because they’re facing a German team that some predict will win the 2014 World Cup. Don’t count on Germany taking it easy either in the third and final group play game either because they have a lot at stake. Assuming they win or tie, they’ll face a second-place finisher from another group. You can certainly bet, though, that USA won’t be rolling over for a more talented squad.

USA can advance with a Loss and Ghana/Portugal Tie

Nobody dreams of backing into the next round. However, the US would take such a scenario given the German team that they’re facing. Assuming Portugal and Ghana tie, the Americans would be into the knockout stage no matter what.

USA can advance with a Loss and beating the Winner of Ghana vs Portugal on Goal Differential

This is another not-so-glamorous scenario because it again involves USA losing. But assuming the Germans do win, USA will be hoping for the winner of the Ghana/Portugal match to finish worse on the goal differential. The best-case scenario would involve the Portuguese winning because they’re five goals behind the US in this statistic. If Ghana wins and USA loses, the Ghanaians would have a very realistic chance to advance. Check out the math on this below:

Ghana wins by 1, USA loses by 1 – Most goals scored is the tie-breaker
Ghana wins by 2 or more, USA loses – Ghana advances
Ghana wins by 1, USA loses by 2 or more – Ghana advances

As you can see, the margin is slim for the United States if they lose and Ghana wins. Of course, we certainly can’t count out Portugal from jumping the US either. Ronaldo and his side won a game against the North Koreans by a score of 7-0 in the 2010 World Cup. But then again, Ghana is definitely no North Korea…

Any way you put it, the Americans would definitely do themselves a huge favor by simply winning or tying their next match against Germany. This is no small feat, that’s for sure. But it’s not completely out of reach either for a team that desperately wants to advance to the knockout round.